Across the United States, in the wake of materials shortages, thieves have been ransacking job sites. They don’t just steal power tools; they take lumber, fixtures, and steel.
“You might as well just kick in my personal house and steal my things. It’s the same thing, it’s the same thing,” said David Romagna with LMS Homes in Nashville, TN, after a rash of four thefts in the last two weeks. In the most recent heist, cameras caught the burglars making off with lumber, HVAC materials, and roof shingles.
“It has even gotten so bad, to where they’re even stealing shingles. We had eight square shingles leftover from our roofing job; they stole the last eight square shingles that we had that we were just getting ready to send back, so it’s very aggravating because of the cost of materials,” said Romagna.
In Wilson Mills, NC, police engaged in a high-speed chase when a truck pulled away from a job site pulling a trailer full of lumber. Police initially stopped the pickup truck on the highway. But it pulled off the wrong way on Route 70, causing several collisions. Even after police spiked the truck’s tires, it kept driving. After finally ending the chase, police found an AR-15, cocaine, and marijuana in the vehicle; they arrested two men and one woman.
Back in Tennessee, Romanga says his burglars got away, even with security monitoring the job site. Thieves made off with “an excess of $10,000 already and again the cost of material nowadays is so high, it adds up really quick,” said Romanga.
The high demand and limited supply of building materials encourage thieves to loot construction sites for anything they can load and take. Some companies complain that theft consumes tens of thousands of dollars in lost materials, even with increased security.